Review of Constituent's Complaint on Investigation by the Department of Labor for Compliance with the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938

HRD-77-153: Published: Oct 11, 1977. Publicly Released: Oct 11, 1977.

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The Department of Labor's Wage and Hour Division investigated A. Leonard Soeller's establishment in Slidell, Louisiana, to determine compliance with minimum wage and overtime provisions of the Fair Labor Standards Act. Mr. Soeller alleged that area office personnel: used a method of determining his coverage by the act which was different from that explained in publications; incorrectly computed the date his establishment became subject to the act; incorrectly calculated back wages resulting from violations; became hostile when errors were pointed out; and threatened him with a court suit if he did not pay back wages.

The compliance officers' determination that an establishment became subject to the act on January 1, 1976 was in error, possibly because of the method used by Mr. Soeller to record sales and layaway receipts. However, there was no evidence of attempts by officers to obtain explanations. A second analysis of date of coverage was found to be accurate. Two of three summaries of back wages due employees contained errors in computation. Although a publication did not explain the method used to calculate the period of coverage for the act, it was only intended as a guide. Another publication provided an adequate explanation of the method used in computing sales volume, but Mr. Soeller was not provided with this publication until after the investigation. He was advised that court suit could be filed to recover back wages, but there was no evidence that officers were hostile or uncooperative. Some problems could have been avoided if matters of concern were discussed more fully with Mr. Soeller.

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